Chaplin & Hampton
From the Connecticut Historical Collection
BY John Warner Barbour
Published 1836



CHAPLIN, a small and inconsiderable township, was incorporated as a town in 1822. It was formed from the towns of Mansfield, Hampton, and a small section of the town of Windham. It is bounded N. by Ashford, E. by Hampton, S. by Windham, and W. by Mansfield. The principal part of the township, however, was included in the limits of Mansfield, being a parish in that town by the name of Chaplin. The township is five and a half miles in length from north to south, and averages about three and a half in width, containing about nineteen square miles.

The town is intersected by the Nachaug, which passes through it from the northeast to the southwest. The inhabitants are principally farmers. There is but one house of worship in the town, which is for Congregationalists. The central part of the town is about ten miles west from Brooklyn.



HAMPTON originally belonged to the towns of Windham and Pornfret. It was incorporated as a town in 1786. The society of Hampton was formed in 1720, by the name of Kennedy or Windham village. A church was gathered here June 5th, 1723, and the Rev. William Billings was ordained the same day as its pastor.

Hampton is bounded N. by Ashford and Pomfret, E. by Brooklyn and Canterbury, S. by Windham, and west by Chaplin. It is about six miles in length from north to south, and averages in width upwards of three miles. The surface of the town is uneven, being considerably hilly. The soil is a gravelly loam, considerably strong and fertile, and is well adapted for grazing. Agriculture is the principal business of the inhabitants. There are 3 houses of worship in the town, 1 for Congregationalists, and two for Baptists. In the south part of the town there is 1 woolen and 1 cotton factory.

The principal and central village in the town is situated on the summit of a considerably elevated hill, 35 miles from Hartford, and 6 from Brooklyn. It consists of about 30 or 40 dwelling houses, on a single street of perhaps about a half a mile extent, with a Congregational church.

About twenty years since a sect of reformers, calling themselves Christ-ians, caused considerable excitement in this and some of the adjoining towns. They had two houses of worship in this town, one called the Goshen meeting house, (from a neighborhood by that name,) about two miles westerly from the center of the town ; the other was south, and was called the Burnham meeting house: they are both small buildings. They appear to have been rather extravagant in their manner of conducting their meetings: it is stated that they were so noisy as to be heard at the' distance of two miles. It is also stated that in order to humble themselves, and become literally like little children, they have been known to crawl, or creep on the floor. In some instances they would so far neglect their worldly business as to leave their cows unmilked, &c. A Mr. Smith and Varnum, appear to have been their principal preachers, or leaders. Varnum induced some of the people over whom he had great influence, to move on with him to Ohio, and there establish a pure and holy church, and enjoy a kind of Paradise on earth. The people however that went with him, were generally miserably disappointed; Varnum turning Shaker, advised those over whom he had influence to follow his example, which was to some extent followed.

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